In 1964, John Spinello, a student at the University of Illinois, designed the prototype for what would become Operation, the game that allows children to endlessly shock themselves and then forever swear off a career in medicine. Spinello would sell this prototype to Marvin Glass—the man who had a hand in the Lite Brite, Mouse Trap, and fake vomit—for $500, and a year later, Operation would hit the shelves in its more polished form. Now, 50 years later, Spinello is in need of an operation of his very own, and a few toy designer friends have taken up the cause to help him clear the gap on what will be a rather costly procedure.
A pair of sites have launched, each one aiming to aid Spinello as he attempts to raise $25,000 for his costly oral surgery. The crowd-funding site Crowdrise.com has seen nearly $16,000 worth of donations for Spinello, and on ILoveOperation.com—which offers plenty of background on both Operation and its inventor—you can either send Spinello a $3 “thank you,” or buy an autographed copy of the game.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Spinello makes clear he has no sour grapes about missing out on the estimated $40 million the game has earned since its release. “I prefer not to dwell on that aspect and focus more on the joy that the game has brought to so many over the years,” he said, showing enthusiasm for all the various shapes the game has taken during its existence. Spinello also says he plans to sell his original prototype for the game this December, a piece estimated at nearly $35,000.